The Pittsburgh Pirates have made their first trade leading up to the non-waiver July 31st trade deadline when they acquired Aramis Ramirez from the Milwaukee Brewers. The first to report this move was Craig Calcaterra, lead baseball writer for NBCSports.com
Then, Bill Brink, Pirates’ beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, confirmed this.
Jon Heyman, baseball writer for CBSSports.com, also confirmed this.
This was the second big move of the day after the Houston Astros acquired Scott Kazmir from the Oakland A’s. As the twitter world anxiously awaited what the Pirates sent back in return, Chris Cotillo, reporter for SB Nation and MLB Daily Dish, reported that Yhonathan Barrios was headed back the other way to the Brewers.
In terms of salary, Ramirez was owed a little over $5 million for the rest of the season, and the Brewers will be eating some of that cash, as the Pirates are only on the hook for $3 million of his remaining salary.
To make room for Ramirez on the 40-man roster, infielder Steve Lombardozzi was designated for assignment.
Finally, the team confirmed the news.
This is big news for the Pirates. Since Josh Harrison went down to injury, the Pirates had originally been forced to play Jung Ho Kang at third base. Then Jordy Mercer went down, and the left side of the infield was in flux. Ramirez helps sure up that side of the field. Let’s take a quick peek at Ramirez’s career stats.
|162 Game Avg.||162||665||602||82||171||37||2||29||105||2||1||47||92||.284||.342||.494||.836||116||297||17||10||0||6||4|
|CHC (9 yrs)||1124||4705||4232||651||1246||256||14||239||806||8||9||373||578||.294||.356||.531||.887||126||2247||115||57||0||43||40|
|PIT (6 yrs)||559||2253||2061||222||542||117||5||76||316||8||6||128||380||.263||.312||.435||.747||90||897||55||32||3||29||10|
|MIL (4 yrs)||455||1814||1647||207||467||109||4||65||262||13||3||117||254||.284||.342||.473||.815||120||779||52||37||0||13||8|
While he’s a career .284 hitter, this season he’s batting .247/.295/.430 with 11 home runs and 42 RBIs. He also has 42 strikeouts to 16 walks. While by some measures he’s having a down year, Ramirez has been playing for a losing club in what may be his final season. Moving to a contender, and to the organization that drafted him 21 years ago, with a chance to compete for a World Series for the first time in his career, might spark his play. Coincidentally, it’s also 12 years to the day that Ramirez was traded from the Pirates to the Cubs in what has gone down in many people’s eyes as one of the worst baseball trades in recent history.
Ramirez is an improvement over someone like Brent Morel at third. Acquiring Ramirez also means that Kang can take over at shortstop, thus eliminating another hole that was created when Mercer went down.
When looking at Yhonathan Barrios, the piece that went the other way in the deal, not much will be lost. Tim Williams of Pirates Prospects tweeted this about Barrios:
Barrios is a 23-year-old relief pitcher that was originally signed as an infielder who hasn’t pitched in the majors yet. He can hit 99 mph on the gun, however. This season, Barrios has a 4.60 ERA in 15.2 innings pitched in Triple-A. For his minor league career, Barrios has a 3.12 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP. Essentially, the Pirates didn’t give up a top prospect for Ramirez.
So, what are the implications of this trade? Ramirez immediately solves the hole at 3B, but what happens when Harrison comes back? I expect Harrison to take over 3B while Ramirez moves to the bench. When Mercer comes back, Kang will also most likely go to the bench, or they’ll split time. This move also greatly improves the bench. Overall, this seems like a good trade for the Pirates, and Aramis Ramirez is apparently happy to return to his original team.
I don’t think Neal Huntington is done making moves just yet…